Red light may not allow you to see as well as white, but it will allow you to see better than in the dark AND not wreck your night vision.
This is why it is commonly used by Astronomers to read charts at night. It allows you to check your charts and immediately go back to the telescope without any degraded night vision.
If you are driving around at night with your headlights off, and needed to spot something I could see its utility...
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